That such an intimate, near silent drama could be so powerful says something about the very human tragedy of the film's title: this isn't strictly a movie about AIDS, but a story of mortality and survival and the ways in which people draw strength from each other during moments of crisis. While Andrew Boyd (only the fourth person in New Zealand to contract the disease) lies helpless and dying, a small circle of his gay friends care for him and await the arrival of Andrew's relatives: stern, conservative Christians from the suburbs. Andrew has been given only five days to live, but the deathwatch stretches to seven, then nine, then thirteen days, while the sharing of pain and compassion enables both 'families' to overcome their respective prejudices and slowly come to terms with each other. The co-directors should be commended for tackling a sensitive issue in such a subdued but eloquent style, avoiding mawkish sentiment by understating the obvious emotional impact of the story and letting the ordeal speak for itself.
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